Child Custody Overview
Child custody in California is determined by what is in the best interest of the child. Judges don’t care what the father wants. Judges don’t care what the mother wants. They only care about the child and his or her upbringing in a stable environment.
What not to Do in Court
I can’t begin to count the number of times I see parents in court putting personal problems before the child. As tempting as it may be, don’t go to court blaming and throwing the kitchen sink at your co-parent. The judge won’t care. Go in trying to build a case to support why you provide the best interest of the child.
Family Code SEction 3020
This law says that the child should have frequent contact with BOTH parents unless there is domestic violence. So when the law of California expects the child to see both parents, how do you think the judge will react when you walk into court demanding sole custody?
If you walk into court demanding sole custody without having facts supporting it the first thing the judge is going to see is a red flag. The judge will see that YOU are putting your interests before the child’s. The judge will see that you are probably doing this out of retaliation, which is counter-productive to what the court wants: the best interests of the child. So before you walk into court demanding something, think about what your options are.
Remember: the more REASONABLE you look to the judge, the better your chances are at getting what you want. So instead of demanding sole custody, enroll in therapy with your kids to show the judge you are willing to be a good parent. Attend a few parenting classes to brush up on your parenting skills. Invite your co-parent to join you in these classes. If they refuse, now who looks bad in front of the judge? Perception is everything, and the more you look like the one trying to get along, the more likely the judge will side with you.
If this is more work than you previously thought I have news for you: Parenting is hard work and judge know this. That’s why they want to see you put in the time to invest in your children. So do the work, take the time, and you might be surprised by the results.
Disclaimer: This blog post, and other blog posts by me, are not meant to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be formed by these blog posts.